Renee Simms received her MFA from Arizona State University, a JD from Wayne State University Law School, and a BA from University of Michigan. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, was a John Gardner Fiction Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and received fellowships from Ragdale and Vermont Studio Center. In addition to teaching in the Rainier Writing Workshop, Renee teaches at University of Puget Sound, where she is an associate professor of African American Studies and contributing faculty to English. Renee’s debut story collection Meet Behind Mars was a Foreword Indies Finalist for Short Stories and listed by The Root as one of 28 brilliant books by black authors in 2018. Renee is currently at work on a novel and a collection of linked essays.
Mentor. Workshop and classes in fiction and nonfiction.
Statement: Good mentors are usually good listeners. As a mentor, I will listen to your expressed intentions and help you consider how to create the story that’s emerging in an early draft. I may suggest reading fiction similar to what you’re writing or reading literature that’s wildly dissimilar. I will also encourage you to identify the traditions and conversations with which your writing engages and to think of yourself as a contributor to literary trends and movements. How are you expanding on what has come before? What are you doing that’s traditional and what do you bring that’s new? Most of all, I’ll encourage you to revise your drafts. All writing improves through rewriting, and all writers discover what it is we are trying to say through critically examining our words, taking them apart, and then saying it again from this perspective, in this form.